Joe Joslin

RAYBURN'S SHALLOW BASS: If you have fished Rayburn for several years in both extreme hot as well as extreme cold weather you know that there are in in shallow water. If you are not a vet of lots of fishing time on Big Sam then take our word for it and mark this one down.....there will always be some bass and usually a lot of bass in less than 5 feet on Rayburn. Even with air temperature extremes from as low as the teens to as high as a 100 degrees bass will remain in the shallows. Sure, there will be bass in deep water then but part of the bass population will remain in less than 5 feet of water.

SHALLOW PATTERNS CURRENTLY PRODUCING: So with that fact established and with Rayburn's water surface temps currently running from 88 to 93 degrees what can you throw to catch bass in 5 feet or less. Let's start on top with frogs. I personally use a Stanley Ribbit which comes in both a regular size as well as the Bull Frog edition which is a good bit larger. If the grass I am fishing is thick I lean more to the Bull and if I am running the outer edges or scattered grass I more often use the regular size.

One thing for sure, I use Stanley's Double-Take hook (two super hooks fused together) on both and use the 5/0 on regular Ribbit and the 6/0 on the Bull Ribbit. To get more info on both Ribbits and the Double Take hooks go to The hooks come in packs of two and sell for around $3 a pack. When using the Ribbit type frog I use 50 lb Spider Wire braided line and normally run it or buzz it across the surface or matted grass. I experiment with speeds until I see what they hit more often and more aggressively. It is a must to hesitate a second or two before setting the hook following the strike.

The other type frog I use is the floating frog such as Spro which usually has a long skirt and works best if fished in a walking motion or a jerk and pause presentation. These frogs can also be deadly and also need a couple of seconds delay following the strike when setting the hook. Fishing a plastic/rubber frog is not for the faint hearted as it takes work and often a hundred cast or more between strikes so don't give up. It is not uncommon for 2 anglers to cast/work frogs all day and only get 5 to 10 hits. However, these are usually big fish and this makes a super approach to tournament fishing. That does not mean that you cannot load the boat some days fishing frogs because I have done so on multiple occasions. However, most days takes measured effort to get a strike.

At times they will hit frogs aggressively in the early a.m. and other times they will wait till high noon to start hitting. To really reap the benefits of frog fishing on Rayburn, it is better to commit to it and stay with it. Sure you may need to change colors, speeds, back and forth from rubber/floaters to a plastic/buzz presentations but don't give up on frogs. You will need either lily pads or floating grass to have the best response.

Another bait that is a great summer bait is a buzzbait worked over scattered grass and also along the outside edge of the grass. Many times I will go back and forth from frogs to buzzbaits to see which they prefer that day. My buzzbaits usually have a copper/gold blade and a white, black or white/chartreuse skirt. My last suggestion is to use a 3/4 or 1 ounce Stanley or Odom grass or swimming jig and pitch it around the edge of the matted or submerged hydrilla or pepper grass.

These heavier jigs will fall through the matted grass to where the bass are holding. The jig pattern works best for me in the brightest part of the day as the bass pull in tight on the cover to avoid the sunlight. So load up with frogs, buzzbaits, jigs, sunnscreen and cooler full of water/Gatorade and be prepared to stay on these patters for at least 5 hours which often is needed to figure out what the bass are doing. Hopefully, you will get some good bites early and your confidence with soar but if not....keep working these baits in Rayburn's shallow grass. The fish are there!

Fish Species: l.m.bass
Bait Used:
Tackle Used:
Method Used:
Water Depth:
Water Temperature:
Wind Direction:
Wind Speed:

Do you want to leave a comment? Login or register now to leave a comment.

No comments so far

Joe Joslin

About The Author: Captain Joe Joslin

Company: joe joslin outdoors

Area Reporting: South Toledo Bend

Bio: Joe Joslin is a syndicated outdoor writer and writes for several Louisiana newspapers and numerous magazines including Texas Game and Fish, Louisiana Game and Fish, CenLa Sportsman, Louisiana Sportsman and LakeCaster. Joe has been fishing Toledo Bend and Sam Rayburn for 25+ years and is a frequent tournament angler. Joe has been a full time pro guide on Toledo Bend/Sam Rayburn since 1998.Joe Joslin Outdoors Fishing Guide Service Wholesome atmosphere * Safety minded * Latest equipment, featuring 21i Class Skeeter with 300 hp Yamaha HPDI * Tackle supplied upon request * References available upon request * Available Year-Round. E-Mail Joe at

337 463 3848
Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Joe Joslin